Caring About Looks In Dating Isn't Shallow

Is it really just what’s on the inside that matters? Or does the outside matter, too?

By Keelia Clarkson2 min read
shutterstock 668585815
Shutterstock/Kateryna Onyshchuk

Over the past few years, our world has attempted to become more loving and accepting of our physical differences, leading us to celebrate the unique beauty of all kinds of women and widening the horizons of our idea of physical beauty. While this was absolutely needed, it seems that on our quest to become accepting, we’ve begun to try to erase the ideas of physical attractiveness and personal preferences. We’re encouraged to all sing in unison, “It’s what’s on the inside that matters!”

Shows like Love Is Blind only further this idea: cast members of the show, all single, sit in a small room and speak to other singles seeking love on the other side of the wall, never laying eyes on one another before becoming engaged. The premise of the show is to prove that we’re meant to fall in love with personalities, but looks get in the way of discovering true love. Participants on the show relay to viewers that they have, indeed, fallen in love with someone without ever having seen them, tears of joy glistening in their starry eyes.

So…Is It Wrong To Care about Looks?

We’ve all seen a friend, sister, or even ourselves make the mistake of dating someone with impossibly good looks but an awful personality — and that never turns out well. So the notion that physical attraction can lead us astray from finding true love isn’t entirely incorrect. After all, looks fade as we age, so we’d better base our choice of a life partner on more than super dreamy eyes and a luxurious head of hair. 

Looks fade as we age, so we’d better base our choice of a life partner on more than super dreamy eyes and a luxurious head of hair. 

But still, is it realistic that we seek to eliminate physical attraction from our list of criteria when searching for our special someone? Or is it important to feel physical attraction in a romantic relationship?

We’re Not Shallow for Caring about Looks

The suggestion that we should pay the least amount of attention to good old physical attraction, or should see everything as equally physically attractive when seeking love, simply doesn’t make sense, especially in the beginning of a romantic relationship when all we have to go on is looks. 

A lack of basic physical attraction can lead to lowered levels of intimacy, satisfaction, affection, and respect.

Evolutionarily speaking, our ideas of attractiveness aren’t baseless — our facial features are indicative of our fertility and our physicality is indicative of our mental and physical health. In short, we’re attracted to certain characteristics for good reasons. And as we get more used to our partner over time, a lack of basic physical attraction can unfortunately lead to lowered levels of intimacy and satisfaction, less physical affection, and even diminished levels of respect.

But Physical Attractiveness Isn’t Completely Objective

This, of course, isn’t to say we all ought to find the exact same things attractive. Thankfully, beyond our evolutionary perception of beauty, we’re all attracted to vastly different things. I have a friend who goes gaga for guys with brown eyes, but my personal preference has always leaned towards blue eyes. So while there are certain qualities we’re naturally inclined to find attractive, there are countless physical attributes that many different people will find desirable.

Closing Thoughts

Being physically attracted to the person we’re with is really important for the long term success of any romantic relationship, but, in the end, every single relationship needs a healthy mix of attraction and deep friendship.